Barber blocking controversy #1: Sato vs. Wilson (VIDEO)

Leave a comment
This video is no longer available. Click here to watch more NBC Sports videos!

Takuma Sato was given a penalty for impeding Justin Wilson in the end of Q2, and was barred from continuing into the Firestone Fast Six despite a quick enough time to advance.

“We got a qualifying penalty for impeding so we’re not able to move on to next session,” Sato’s team director Larry Foyt told IMS Radio. “This whole deal, everyone’s trying to make room, and there becomes an accordion effect. What happens three cars ahead then trickles back. We lost our best laps as well getting held up.”

Sato explained his side of the story from the driver’s seat.

“In the second segment I had to back off because there was a slower car in front of me at the exit of Turn 5,” he said. “So I abandoned my qualifying lap and I tried to stretch the space. I checked my mirror on the back straight and there was no one there and then going through Turns 7 and 8 which is where the elevation changes which is probably the worst place for Justin Wilson to catch me because I couldn’t see anything behind me. When I was able to see that he was coming on I tried to keep my line tight and let him have the racing line. Obviously it was close but I was disappointed to be penalized.”

Wilson, usually as gentlemanly as they come, was less diplomatic after the incident.

“I’m really upset by what happened,” he said. “The No. 19 Boy Scouts of America Honda was really fast today. We definitely had a top three car today, possible even a pole-winning one. My red tires were just coming in and I was working on a very quick lap when Sato slowed down in front of me and didn’t get out of the way. That caused me to slow down and have to go around him. Once I came in into the pits I ran right to the IndyCar trailer to see if they saw the incident. They took Sato’s two fastest laps away, which was some sort of justice. I just feel bad for the crew because they have given me a pole winning car this weekend.”

Scott Dixon’s take on the matter was humorous, given he fell victim to a mistakenly issued penalty from race control at Milwaukee last year.

“I didn’t know race control had it in them. Good to see,” he opined.

This video is no longer available. Click here to watch more NBC Sports videos!

MRTI: Juncos signs Carlos Cunha for Pro Mazda campaign

Photo: Juncos Racing
Leave a comment

Juncos Racing continued to bolster its entries in the Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires by signing Carlos Cunha to pilot a third Juncos Pro Mazda entry for 2018. Cunha, who finished third in the 2017 Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda season on the back of seven podium finishes, joins Rinus VeeKay and Robert Megennis in Juncos’ Pro Mazda lineup for 2018.

Cunha previously tested with the team at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in October and joined Juncos for the Chris Griffis Memorial test at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in November, testing cars for both the Pro Mazda and Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires teams.

“It’s great to become a part of Juncos Racing,” said the 18-year-old Cunha. “I am really excited to start the 2018 season with Juncos Racing. This fall we did some testing together and from there I was able to see how focused everyone on the team is and I even felt like I became a part of their family in no time. I am confident we will get great results together next year and I look forward to learning and growing more with the team. It will be a huge pleasure and also a great responsibility to carry the number one on my car, thanks to (2017 Pro Mazda champion Victor Franzoni) and I hope to deliver it back to the team at the end of the year!”

Team owner Ricardo Juncos added, “We are excited to add Carlos to our Pro Mazda lineup. From the moment we started testing with him in early October, we knew he would be a great fit for our team. Carlos has been very quick in testing and even had an impressive showing in the Indy Lights car at the Chris Griffis test back in October. He had a great run this past season in the Pro Mazda series and we are confident he will carry that momentum into the 2018 season.”

Follow @KyleMLavigne